Thursday, July 18, 2024

What To Do When Your Teenager Is Depressed

What Does Depression Look Like

How Can You Help if Your Teenagers Depressed? (Raising Teenagers #11)

With all these changes, our teens may feel physically, emotionally or spiritually overwhelmed. In light of recent studies that show 28 percent of adolescents will experience some kind of depression, parents cant help but wonder what depression looks like in the life of a teen.

At one end of the spectrum, depression can become a medical illness that severely limits daily functioning, lasts for months or possibly years and requires professional intervention. At the other end of the spectrum, a teen may temporarily feel blue in the midst of certain events and developmental changes.

At first glance, a teens depression, including its severity, may not be clear. A few signs to watch for include:

  • agitation or restlessness
  • loss of interest in activities
  • isolating behavior
  • feeling sad, worthless, hopeless or helpless

Mothers And Sons: Being A Godly Influence

Rhonda Stoppe describes her early motherhood challenges of raising a son, which was intimidating to her. She found help through group of older women mentors. She urges moms to see their role as ministry in shaping sons to be good and godly men. Rhonda outlines several practical suggestions to moms about spiritual training, how to communicate with boys, and supporting the father-son relationship as a wife.

Prepping A Crisis Toolkit

It can be so hard to watch depression impact your child. And as much as you want to, you cant take depression away from someone. But your child isnt lost to you. You can still act by being well-informed and prepared in a crisis.

Emergency room visits for suspected suicide attempts for those ages 12 to 17 increased by during the first year of the pandemic.

Having a crisis plan means youll have the following items in place before an emergency:

  • phone numbers programmed into your phone, including your childs counselor or therapist
  • directions to the nearest ER saved in your phones GPS app
  • digital copies of medical history and medications accessible by phone
  • 741741 saved as a crisis text line to connect with a crisis counselor 24/7

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Being Available To Talk

Your young person might not want to talk when you approach them. While its not helpful to push them to open up, its important for them to know that when they feel up to it, youll be there for them.

Sometimes, talking to an adult friend can be easier than a parent, so if theres someone close to your child, consider having a chat to them about this and asking them to reach out. For example, your teen might feel more comfortable talking to an aunt, a sports coach, a teacher or their friends parent. Remember: if theyd rather talk to someone else, this doesnt mean that youve done anything wrong.

Emerging Trends In Substance Misuse:

What to Do if Your Teenager is Depressed
  • MethamphetamineIn 2019, NSDUH data show that approximately 2 million people used methamphetamine in the past year. Approximately 1 million people had a methamphetamine use disorder, which was higher than the percentage in 2016, but similar to the percentages in 2015 and 2018. The National Institute on Drug Abuse Data shows that overdose death rates involving methamphetamine have quadrupled from 2011 to 2017. Frequent meth use is associated with mood disturbances, hallucinations, and paranoia.
  • CocaineIn 2019, NSDUH data show an estimated 5.5 million people aged 12 or older were past users of cocaine, including about 778,000 users of crack. The CDC reports that overdose deaths involving have increased by one-third from 2016 to 2017. In the short term, cocaine use can result in increased blood pressure, restlessness, and irritability. In the long term, severe medical complications of cocaine use include heart attacks, seizures, and abdominal pain.
  • KratomIn 2019, NSDUH data show that about 825,000 people had used Kratom in the past month. Kratom is a tropical plant that grows naturally in Southeast Asia with leaves that can have psychotropic effects by affecting opioid brain receptors. It is currently unregulated and has risk of abuse and dependence. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that health effects of Kratom can include nausea, itching, seizures, and hallucinations.

Resources:

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Tips For Helping A Depressed Teen

If you are concerned that your teen may be depressed, but they appear uninterested in getting help or perhaps outright refuse it, there are steps that you can take to help them. Proceed with gentle but firm methods to persuade your teen to get help. These varied approaches have all been effective in helping depressed teens move forward.

What Are The Main Teenage Depression Symptoms

The main symptoms of depression in teens relate to changes in their behavior, emotions, and communication patterns.

For parents, it can be difficult to differentiate between issues that are normal for teenagers, such as moodiness, and signs that their child may be experiencing depression.

The main symptoms of depression in teenagers include:

  • Becoming quiet and withdrawn
  • Feeling tired and exhausted a lot
  • Crying a lot or seeming numb or blank
  • Persistent negative emotions and moods
  • Low self-esteem
  • Losing interest in activities they used to enjoy
  • Problems at school
  • Struggling to sleep or sleeping too much
  • Eating more or less than normal
  • Increased irritability and anger

Most teenagers showing symptoms of depression are able to find their way back to well-being without their depression becoming severe.

However, if they arent able to get help with whats troubling them and depression persists, teenagers mental health issues may worsen. Signs of more severe depression and mental health issues in teenagers may include:

  • Isolating from friends and family
  • Losing hope in the future
  • Angry outbursts and violence
  • Frequently thinking and talking about death
  • Self-harming
  • Considering suicide

If you believe that your teenager may be suffering from severe depression, its important to take this very seriously.

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Tip : Try Not To Isolate Yourselfit Makes Depression Worse

Depression causes many of us to withdraw into our shells. You may not feel like seeing anybody or doing anything and some days just getting out of bed in the morning can be difficult. But isolating yourself only makes depression worse. So even if its the last thing you want to do, try to force yourself to stay social. As you get out into the world and connect with others, youll likely find yourself starting to feel better.

Spend time face-to-face with friends who make you feel goodespecially those who are active, upbeat, and understanding. Avoid hanging out with those who abuse drugs or alcohol, get you into trouble, or make you feel judged or insecure.

Get involved in activities you enjoy . Getting involved in extracurricular activities seem like a daunting prospect when youre depressed, but youll feel better if you do. Choose something youve enjoyed in the past, whether it be a sport, an art, dance or music class, or an after-school club. You might not feel motivated at first, but as you start to participate again, your mood and enthusiasm will begin to lift.

Volunteer. Doing things for others is a powerful antidepressant and happiness booster. Volunteering for a cause you believe in can help you feel reconnected to others and the world, and give you the satisfaction of knowing youre making a difference.

What You Can Do

10 Signs Your Child Is Depressed | Child Anxiety

If you think you may have depression, you may worry that if you seek help you’ll get labeled as crazy.

Forget the whole “crazy” thing. That has nothing to do with depression, and it doesn’t help anyone.

“In fact, knowing that you have depression is good news in a way, because we do know that there are effective treatments,” Emslie says. “Don’t assume that we’re going to stick you in a hospital or put you on medications you don’t want. There’s a lot more to it than that.”

Some treatment options for depression are:

  • Therapy. You can see a therapist one-on-one, or in a group. Therapy helps you figure out what’s going off track in your life, and how you can make changes — handling school stresses, for example, or working on healthy relationships with friends and family.
  • Lifestyle changes, like getting more exercise, eating well, and finding social support. Many studies have found that exercise can be as effective as medication at treating depression.
  • Antidepressant drugs. Sometimes prescription medicines can help to get your brain chemistry back to normal. There are lots of them.

You and your doctor would come up with a plan that works for you. Therapy and lifestyle change are recommended, whether or not you also take antidepressants. It’s about more than taking a pill.

Also Check: Resources For Someone With Depression

Teens & Depression: Is This Really Normal

Walt Mueller, in his book The Space Between, calls the adolescent years the earthquake of adolescence. It definitely feels that way. We are shaken. Our teens are shaken. And this is a common experience.

Hormones cause brain and body changes that affect an adolescents sleep, eating habits, emotions and social well-being. Theyre constantly adjusting to the fluctuations. They want to be adults, but getting there feels downright awkward. They often push against parental requests or expectations with defiance or tears and no one knows which to expect.

Questions fill their minds and may remain unspoken: Who am I? What am I supposed to do with my life? Am I liked? And it doesnt matter if their self-perception is inaccurate. It feels real to them.

This is all normal a part of the developmental process and yet its so very difficult for them and for us.

If You Are Not The Parent

The teen in your life may be your student, a member of your after-school program, or a relative. Although you arent the parent, you can still play an important role in getting them help. Here are some things you can do:

  • Approach the teens parents and describe what youve observed in a thoughtful way. This may be difficult for the parent to hear, but be honest and express your concern.
  • If, for some reason, you need to talk the teen first, follow the same approach. Tell them what youve observed and offer to talk to the principal, program leader, or parents with the teen.

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What To Do When Your Teen Is Depressed

Youve read over the above list and are pretty sure that your teen is depressed. Now what? Here are some things you can do to help your teen with depression.

1. Talk to Your Teen

Find out as much as possible by asking lots of questions. For example, Ive noticed that your schoolwork is suffering. You want to talk about it? or Im concerned that youve been spending a lot of time in your room and not going out with your friends? Is there something with which I can help?

2. Take Your Teen to a Mental Health Professional

You may or may not be on the right track suspecting your teen is depressed. Like I mentioned, sometimes, its difficult to decipher your teens mood. Thats why a professionaltherapist, psychiatrist, or doctorcan either confirm or allay your suspicions and either point you in the right direction to get your child help or tell you to keep an eye on things and give it a little more time.

3. Explain Your Reasons for Concern.

You may want to express your concerns to your teen and the reasons why youre having them. For instance, you might say, I am concerned that you might be depressed. Heres why Then, list the reasons. Furthermore, you can say, If you are feeling depressed, I just want you to know that theres help out there.

Putting words to what your teen is feeling will validate their experience. Often, having words to our experiences can be a great relief.

4. Consider Medications

5. Psychotherapy

6. Lifestyle Adjustments

Be your childs advocate!

How Is Teen Depression Diagnosed

Ten Things For Parents To Do When Your Teen is Depressed

There aren’t any specific medical tests that can detect depression. Health care professionals determine if a teen has depression by conducting interviews and psychological tests with the teen and their family members, teachers, and peers.

The severity of the teen depression and the risk of suicide are determined based on the assessment of these interviews. Treatment recommendations are also made based on the data collected from the interviews.

The doctor will also look for signs of potentially co-existing psychiatric disorders such as anxiety or substance abuse or screen for complex forms of depression such as bipolar disorder or psychosis. The doctor will also assess the teen for risks of suicide or homicide. Incidences of attempted suicide and self-mutilation is higher in females than males while completed suicide is higher in males. One of the most vulnerable groups for completed suicide is the 18-24 age group.

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What You Can Do To Help A Teen With Depression

You may have a child who struggles with depression, or maybe you have know a teen who struggles with depression and anxiety.

It is often hard to know exactly what to say or do to help them.

When you have a teen with depression , usually there are two things that will help them the most more than anything you can do.

The first thing to do is actually something you need to say to them which is this,

I am here for you,

I need you.

Even if you are pushed away and ignored by them initially, if you are persistent and sincere enough the teenager will most likely be able to internalize what you are saying.

They need to hear you tell them that your love for them is not dependent on how they are acting or what they are feeling inside.

The second most important thing I feel you need to do is LISTEN.

Yep thats it just sit there and listen.

Let them talk out all of their feelings. Even the dark ones you might not understand. They may tell you things that are totally irrational and that are completely skewed by the state that their mind is in.

But that is ok, just listen anyway.

Thats it, no getting upset, or trying to council them. Just let them try to sort it out themselves as they talk it out.

After they have talked, if they ask your advice or want your input

Underdeveloped Brain

The teenage brain isnt fully developed at this stage in their life, in fact, research shows that generally speaking the human brain isnt fully developed until the age of 25. .

Panic Attacks

Sweating.

What Not To Say

We should avoid saying to a depressed teenager:

  • Get a move on! React! You have to do something!
  • Dont dwell on it! Take your mind off it! Go and have fun!
  • After all, there are a lot of people who are worse off than you.
  • Dont keep pitying yourself. You have to react!
  • Its all fantasy.
  • You have to grow up, dont play the victim.
  • You do not lack anything to be happy.
  • After all you arent so sick, you look well.
  • Its only some stress. Some rest, some vitamins, and you will be well again.
  • Things arent so bad after all, are they?
  • You have to step out, you have to have fun!
  • You need only a girlfriend .
  • Do as I do, when I feel down I have a hot bath and I feel great again.
  • Smile, and the world will smile back.
  • It happens to everyone, sooner or later, being depressed.
  • You dont look depressed.
  • You do it to attract attention.

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Find A Good Therapist Or Counselor

Talk to your provider about finding a therapist for your teen.

  • Most teens with depression benefit from some type of talk therapy.
  • Talk therapy is a good place to talk about their feelings and concerns, and to learn ways to deal with them. Your teen can learn to understand issues that may be causing their behavior, thoughts, or feelings.
  • Your teen will likely need to see a therapist at least once a week to start.

There are many different kinds of talk therapy, such as:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy teaches your teen to reason through negative thoughts. Your teen will be more aware of their symptoms, and will learn what makes their depression worse and problem-solving skills.
  • Family therapy is helpful when family conflict is contributing to the depression. Support from family or teachers may help with school problems.
  • Group therapy can help teens learn from the experiences of others who are struggling with the same type of problems.

Check with your health insurance company to see what they will cover.

Sharing Your Faith With Grace And Purpose

Signs Your Child is Depressed

You can confidently and lovingly share your faithyou just need to learn some new tactics to do so! In this Focus on the Family Daily Broadcast, apologist Greg Koukl outlines the Columbo tactic of asking questions, the self-defeating argument tactic to find holes in your opponents arguments, and other specific methods for engaging in faith-building conversations with others. Greg pulls from his over 30 years of experience debating atheists and agnostics to help you share your faith with grace and truth.

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Signs Of Suicidality In Teens

These are suicide warning signs, common in depressed teenagers:

  • Making jokes about dying or committing suicide
  • Talking about committing suicide.
  • Writing poems or stories about death, dying or suicide.
  • Expressing thoughts like Everyone would be better off without me, See how you feel when Im dead, I wish I could just disappear forever, Life is pointless, or Theres no way out.
  • Speaking positively about dying or death. For example If I died, people would love me, or If I disappear, maybe people will realize how good I am.
  • Saying goodbye to loved ones as if for the last time.
  • Giving away valuable or prized possessions.
  • Being reckless or involved in accidents.
  • Searching for topics related to suicide on the Internet.
  • Looking for methods to commit suicide, such as seeking out guns, poison or pills.
Suicide helplines

The NHS provides urgent help for mental health through their helplines. People of all ages can call.People who live in the US can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.Or, you can find a suicide hotline in your country HERE.

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